ELLSWORTH (AP) – The Maine State Planning Office hopes to use $2.3 million in federal stimulus money to retrieve lobster traps lost on the ocean floor.

They’re referred to as “ghost” traps by fishermen and industry officials. The traps end up piling up on the ocean floor when they lose their rope connection to a buoy. And the traps continue to catch lobsters, which eventually die because they can’t crawl out.

Each year, the Department of Marine Resources sells 3.2 million trap tags each year. Lobstermen are allowed to replace up to 10 percent of their tags each year due to lost traps.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expected to announce next month whether it will fund the 18-month project.



Information from: Bangor Daily News, http://www.bangornews.com

AP-ES-04-15-09 0704EDT


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